It’s basically a scientifically proven fact that any 90’s beybeh worth his stowed-away cassette collection has grown up believing that the world, as a whole, is ruled by the 5 objectively flaw-free Goddesses of Everything – Janet Jackson (religion, per se), Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and today’s Throwback Tuesday featured songstress and vocal legend – Celine Dion.
Fact : A single Celine B-side alone can triumph entire discographies of many an established singer.
Back in the day, music was really not about auto-tune, dubstep, re-releases, re-re-releases, remixed-re-re-releases, Skrillex, Calvin Harris etc. Ta-dah! Most importantly, the world was free of Justin Bieber and One Direction who were in the process of being conceived. Apocalyptic.
Thankfully, Adele’s global success has resurrected what used to be a norm back in the 90’s – good music and power-ballads.
Riding off the high of 1993’s ‘The Color Of My Love‘ (21 million units sold worldwide) and 1995’s ‘Deux‘ (the highest selling French album of all time with over 11 million units sold till date), the 5-time Grammy winning Canadian chanteuse unveiled what happened to be her most ambitious album until then, 1996’s ‘Falling Into You‘ – her 4th English language studio album and her 21st overall.
Although the album was mostly formulaic (mega-ballads and adult-contemporary pop was Celine’s forte), Celine broke new ground by venturing into new territory with ‘Falling Into You‘ – sounding more heartfelt and intense than she ever had on any of her previous albums.
The album ‘Falling Into You‘ featured an epic team of producers and songwriters – from David Foster (Barbra Streisand), Ric Wake (Mariah Carey), Humberto Gatica (Michael Jackson), Jim Steinman (Meatloaf), Dianne Warren and Jean-Jacques Goldman, relentlessly spawning off hit singles including the Billboard Hot 100 # 1 ‘Because You Loved Me‘, the # 2 hit ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now‘ and the # 4 smash ‘All By Myself‘.
Most of the songs on the album were covers, but Celine owned them all, including Tina Turner’s ‘River Deep, Mountain High‘, Eric Carmen’s ‘All By Myself‘, Jim Steinman’s ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me‘, Carole King’s ‘You Make Me Feel Like (A Natural Woman)‘ and my favorite song on the album – the title track, a remake of Argentine singer Marie-Claire D’Ubaldo’s ‘Falling Into You‘.
Over a lush mid-tempo percussion and supreme string arrangements, Celine unleashes some beautifully subtle vocals that float over, intertwine with and complement the orchestral arrangements of the title track. The Nigel Dick-directed video for the song, shot in Gorbio, France, remains one of her best, especially considering that Celine has never been much of a video artist like her contemporaries Madonna and Janet Jackson. A truly dreamy affair that made me experience some major chills the first time I saw and heard it.
My favorite part of the song? The last 15 seconds when Celine longingly trails off ‘Finding a belief, falling where you are…falling into you‘, while in the video there’s a shot of her from behind while she runs towards her car, and then drives away to meet her lover. If there’s any sense of longing that I’ve felt for anyone at all, listening to the last 15 seconds of ‘Falling Into You‘ re-conjures every memory I have, long-lost or recent.
By numbers alone, ‘Falling Into You‘ reigned supreme. The album has sold an astounding 32 million units worldwide, being certified 11 times Platinum in the US, 13 times Platinum in Australia, 9 times Platinum in Europe, 7 times Platinum in the UK, and 10 times Platinum in her native Canada.
The album eventually went on to win 3 Grammy Awards, including the prestigious Album Of The Year award in 1997.
Easily one of the best, if not the best album of Celine’s remarkable discography.